Priscilla and Aquila are among the special couples we read about in the Bible. They shared their love for each other and for God by being equally involved in ministry. Their faith in Jesus and passion for souls allowed them to work together, not only making tents but also breaking barriers of gender and culture for the expansion of God’s kingdom as they traveled with Paul to Ephesus. We can take courage from their example so that we too overcome our personal barriers to love all fully as they did in Jesus’ name.
Set up a tent as a focal point for this program. Use the inside as a meeting place with lights and cushions for participants to engage in the group activity.
Tent Love Letters
Letters have become a lost art. Emails, texts, Facetime and Zoom have become our methods of communication, affecting the way we connect with others and share thoughts, feelings and matters of the heart. Personal letters can be meaningful as we intentionally share with the recipient. Following Paul, Priscilla and Aquila’s example of love, encourage participants to write two personal tent love letters. They can enter the tent set up for this program to write their love correspondence there or enter the tent later to spend some time of reflection and rededication to loving God and loving others wholeheartedly.
Supplies needed include stationery and envelopes, colored pens, Bibles and stickers. The two suggested love letters are:
- Loving correspondence to someone they haven’t seen in a long time, whether a friend or a relative. In the letter they should acknowledge memories shared with the recipient highlighting past fellowship together and confessing anything that may have contributed to their distancing. They should also thank them for who they are and what they mean to the participant.
- A love letter to Jesus remembering God’s mercies and acknowledging the times when God has shown His faithfulness. They should thank Him for what those memories mean and how they have helped them grow in faith. They can rededicate their love relationship with Jesus, confessing any barrier that needs to be overcome and respond to God’s invitation to love beyond their comfort zones.
Today’s society is fragmented into many racial, ethnic and political clusters. But God’s love transcends all barriers. Once we know God’s love, we need to share it with everyone. Priscilla and Aquila were a missionary married couple who used their love for each other and for God. They used their talents and resources to help reach the world for Christ. They were a dynamic duo actively involved in ministry together breaking geographical borders and gender roles.
As a woman in the first century, Priscilla was influential in the early church because of her courage and determination. The fact her name appears first when referring to the couple means she had a leading role. The use of her nickname “Prisca” (diminutive for Priscilla) when referring to her suggests she had a friendly and approachable personality. She went beyond her gender to become a messenger of the good news.
In today’s scripture, Paul addresses both Priscilla and Aquila as his “fellow workers in Christ Jesus.” Paul took the time to write a note of gratitude to them for all they had done to help him and many others, often risking their own lives. When the couple originally met Paul in Corinth (Acts 18), they had already left their home in Italy after the Emperor Claudius ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Rather than being protective of what they had in a foreign land, Priscilla and Aquila showed hospitality to Paul. They welcomed him into their home and business of tent making. The three of them became close friends as they shared the same trade, travels, adversities and joys in their common passion of sharing the gospel of Christ wherever they went and with those they encountered. Evidence of this was the couple’s willingness to remain in Ephesus to tutor Apollos who later continued the work initiated by Paul in Corinth.
The ministry of Priscilla and Aquila was fruitful because of their selfless approach for the good of the kingdom. Their commitment was rooted in their deep love for Christ. That same commitment is expected of us today. Are we selflessly living for God and loving all in His name?
Love is a decision. Think of those from backgrounds different than yours whether they live nearby or are part of the LGBTQ community. Are you reaching out to them? Examine the transparency of your love for God in relation to others in society. Are there any barriers in your heart to love all peoples? Are there any stereotypes or prejudices you need to overcome in order to love fully as a witness for Christ? Do you care for all individuals and ethnicities around you? Do you invest time and resources in missionary work? Is God calling you to “leave your home” for the good of the kingdom as Priscilla and Aquila did? Now more than ever, we believers are to make a difference in this fragmented society, loving beyond the borders of our genders and cultures to reach the world for Christ before His return.
After the group activity, encourage participants to mail their first letter and to keep their letter to Jesus in a place where they can revisit it often to assess their diligence in the commitments made. Then gather in a circle and lead this closing prayer:
Thank you, Lord, for your unfailing love for each and all of us. Help us to keep You at the center of our lives, our marriages, our decisions and priorities so that our shared faith in You becomes the driving force in all we do. Make us more like Christ using all we are and have for Your glory. Stir our hearts with Your love to reach out to those who don’t know Your love, as Priscilla and Aquila did in the early church. Equip us to move beyond the borders of our gender and culture to attract everyone and anyone we encounter to You Lord with strings of Your holy love. Amen.